Thursday, April 1, 2010

Review: On Writing by Stephen King

I searched high and low for this book, for months and months and could not find it anywhere! An enterprising (and wonderful) friend tracked it down a copy and gave it to me for my birthday.

Part autobiography and part guide-book (or as the blurb proclaims, "part memoir, part master-class"), this novel delivers up 297 pages of greatness for fans and, er, non-fans alike. I myself do not harbour much affection for the thriller genre, in book or in movie form. I simply cannot stand the suspense – and I'll freely admit I'm a bit of a wuss. The primary reason I wanted this book so badly was because I'm fascinated with books about writing, especially when they're by successful authors. I own David Eddings' Rivan Codex for this reason, which I also highly recommend if you're a fan of him, or fantasy novels in general. Eddings' book focuses more on the process and 'behind the scenes' (so to speak) of his series, The Belgariad, than on the practicalities of writing in general.

King's novel traces his own career, through accidental journalistic liasons, finding his voice in short fiction which he got published in a variety of magazines and anthologies, into the development of his very first novel, Carrie. As an aspiring writer, I found King's novel both inspiring and practical, as he details the process that he went through getting work into magazines, and explains the impact it had on him both personally and professionally, both at the time and then when he started approaching companies to get his novel published.

Infused with a potent mixture of wit and raw honesty, this non-fiction piece does not disappoint. It can be found with relative ease on eBay or Amazon, if you manage to not lose every single eBay auction (like I did). Alternately, it was published in 2000, so you miiiight still be able to get it special-ordered into your local bookstore. Even more alternately, if you can find your library card (my mother borrowed mine, and promptly lost it. Lucky for me, my university library has a rich fiction section!), you can borrow it.

Until next we meet,

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